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Friendly -> Nervous -> Friendly -> Mean!

Understand why your rabbits behave the way they do - and what you can do about it.
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Friendly -> Nervous -> Friendly -> Mean!

Post Number:#1  Unread postby CaffeinatedBunnies » Tue Jan 12, 2016 6:02 pm


A mildly amusing tale about my new rabbits; four NZWs which apparently came from a research herd and were used a source of material for synthesis of amino acids.

The day I arrived at the rabbitry I found all the NZWs to be docile and friendly, eager to come over and say hello. I was pretty happy about this as my first up close view of rabbit teeth instantly convinced me I wanted nothing to do with them on an unfriendly basis. After finishing my very amateurish impression of some one examining rabbits I selected three does and loaded them and the buck (selected by the owner) into the transport cages and headed home.

The next couple days showed some nervousness in the does but that seemed to settle out quickly and was followed by more friendly, inquisitive behavior. It turns out that was all a cunning bunny lie, designed to lure me into a false sense of security by the ring-leader, the biggest doe, aka "FussyPaws". Roughly 5 days after settling in FP made a lunge at my hand with no warning, smacking it with her bunny talons and doing a really excellent job of activating my jerk reflex. I think she enjoyed it and passed the word along because the next day the smallest doe, who had an abscess under her foreleg (which, amazingly enough, is healing up nicely after a good squeeze), decided to give it a try as well. She also found it satisfactory and the two of them now take every opportunity to whack my hand or fingers with their fore-paws!

Now when it comes to injuries I'm a serious chicken and have no delusions of grandeur; I therefore very quickly decided that a pair of leather gloves was in order when dealing with these two. This turned out to be a wise course of chicken out. Three days after FP started the talon-strike-trick I managed to keep my reflex mostly under control and kept my hand in the cage through three strikes. Turns out she has a harsh "three strikes, you're out!" policy as she quickly came in for a fourth eviction notice, but this time led with the teeth and landed an amazingly fast, well aimed, 'Chomp!' on my finger. Needless to say that had the desired effect and my hand was speedily removed from her cage. Thankfully the leather gloves saved my skin!

For now I've decided to put up with the offensive behavior and simply be wary of the mean buns! Fortunately the other doe, Nelly, as in 'nervous', is not aggressive and the buck, Burger-Bun, who was named by my six year old, seems to be almost happy at the idea of human contact. Two out of four I can enjoy seems acceptable for a first go at rabbiting but if anyone has tips on taming nasty does :all-ears: !!

Edit - just noticed several posts about mean does, reading them now!

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Re: Friendly -> Nervous -> Friendly -> Mean!

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Zass » Tue Jan 12, 2016 7:01 pm


That certainly was amusing to read :)

I'm pretty sure my opinion on the subject is already all over those other threads. :lol:

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Re: Friendly -> Nervous -> Friendly -> Mean!

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Miss M » Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:56 pm


That was an amusing read! :P At your expense, of course...

Hope the other threads are helpful!

Around here, biting is usually a one-way trip to the stew pot. There are exceptions, with circumstances taken into account. If a rabbit is scared, that's one thing, and you might be able to deal with it and make her feel secure. If a rabbit is mean, that's another thing entirely. There are too many nice rabbits in this world to put up with mean ones. :)
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Re: Friendly -> Nervous -> Friendly -> Mean!

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Homer » Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:18 am


Try and win them over with food. A little Cilantro can go a long way with a grumpy, "don't touch me, get out of my space" Doe.

If something is physical wrong you may never win them over but it's worth a try...or maybe they want bred. :P
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Re: Friendly -> Nervous -> Friendly -> Mean!

Post Number:#5  Unread postby a7736100 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:29 am


Are they pregnant?

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Re: Friendly -> Nervous -> Friendly -> Mean!

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Marinea » Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:12 pm


Gonna pass along my "yes, I can be grumpy, but I'll change my ways for that" treat- Fruit Loops. Just a few Loops and my buns are putty in my hands.
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Re: Friendly -> Nervous -> Friendly -> Mean!

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Miss M » Thu Jan 14, 2016 8:16 am


I second the Fruit Loops. My rabbits love Fruit Loops!
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Re: Friendly -> Nervous -> Friendly -> Mean!

Post Number:#8  Unread postby wamplercathy » Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:04 am


My rabbits really love shredded wheat bites, the un-frosted kind. They loose their minds over them and get over being :wr_noseinair: :lol: :lol:

With my does, a thump to the nose also works wonders when the treats fail.

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Re: Friendly -> Nervous -> Friendly -> Mean!

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Miss M » Thu Jan 14, 2016 1:10 pm


I see your shredded wheat, and raise you Quaker Oatmeal Squares. :P Aslan will come up, grab it with a tiny growl to warn you that you'd better not take it away, and then scamper off to a well-shielded corner so he can eat it before you can steal it from him. :lol:
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Re: Friendly -> Nervous -> Friendly -> Mean!

Post Number:#10  Unread postby wamplercathy » Thu Jan 14, 2016 2:13 pm


Miss M wrote:I see your shredded wheat, and raise you Quaker Oatmeal Squares. :P Aslan will come up, grab it with a tiny growl to warn you that you'd better not take it away, and then scamper off to a well-shielded corner so he can eat it before you can steal it from him. :lol:


:shock: Those are really tasty and very costly. A large box of sw is about $1-2 but the qos are $4 for a normal size box. But I can imagine they would love those. :P :lol: :lol:

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Re: Friendly -> Nervous -> Friendly -> Mean!

Post Number:#11  Unread postby CaffeinatedBunnies » Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:02 pm


Fruit loops and quaker oats for bunnies! I like it :P

I tried a thump on the nose a couples times...she redoubled the attacks and I realized I was getting :evil: so I just backed up and gave her some space. After a couple days of space and minimal contact she settled some.

Breeding also helped :mrgreen: It's been about 8 days and now she's nice enough to come over to the door and let me rub her nose.

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Re: Friendly -> Nervous -> Friendly -> Mean!

Post Number:#12  Unread postby Homer » Sun Jan 17, 2016 6:15 am


CaffeinatedBunnies wrote:...Breeding also helped :mrgreen: It's been about 8 days and now she's nice enough to come over to the door and let me rub her nose.

That's what they were trying to tell ya. :P
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Re: Friendly -> Nervous -> Friendly -> Mean!

Post Number:#13  Unread postby Miss M » Sun Jan 17, 2016 8:28 am


wamplercathy wrote:
Miss M wrote:I see your shredded wheat, and raise you Quaker Oatmeal Squares. :P Aslan will come up, grab it with a tiny growl to warn you that you'd better not take it away, and then scamper off to a well-shielded corner so he can eat it before you can steal it from him. :lol:


:shock: Those are really tasty and very costly. A large box of sw is about $1-2 but the qos are $4 for a normal size box. But I can imagine they would love those. :P :lol: :lol:

Yes, they normally are very costly... I've been getting them at a grocery salvage store for ~$2/box. :P
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